to April

You said you were ordinary.

You did not know how spectacular your ordinaryness is. I want to tell you.

This post is to every woman; every ordinary woman. Dear April – for you are an April to somebody, probably several somebodies, – please know that people mean this all to you, just like I mean it to April.

to April: You thought you were ordinary. You thought you were skiing and snowshoeing and enjoying jokes and laughing heartily and being blessed and enjoying a snippet of winter. And sure, you were. But for each little “Darlin'” and “Lamb” and for each time you sat down next to me, or let me come skiing or snowshoeing; for each time you laughed uproariously and snorted that special, ridiculous little snort; for each time you frowned over a pine cone and saved it for later, when you had a pencil – your ordinariness was what I needed.

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I don’t remember the first time you called me Lamb or Darlin’. It was probably the first time I addressed you (which took a while; I was shy.) But you meant it, that first time. You still do. You mean it when you talk with anybody. That, my Dear Ordinary April, is the kind of ordinary we crave.

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I don’t know how often you snowshoed up here, or how often you took people with and how often you wanted to go alone. (I get that, by the way.) I don’t know how often you wanted to share the wonder of the woods with one of your darlins, but I do know that I loved it. I could hear – each time you mentioned how the carnivorous plants worked down in their Black Spruce Bogs, or pointed out the Leatherleaf sticking steadfast and up all through winter – I could hear how much you cared.

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We tramped (you tramped and I tripped over the super-sized feet I wasn’t used to) through the bogs and over the ridges and up the trickling gullies and you asked all about Colorado and my school and the things you knew I cared about. That’s the kind of ordinary that speaks, Love. April I don’t know how often you’ve spoken in front of a crowd, because you got all shaky and your little tears made tears on the rest of our faces too, but I know that you miss it here, and yet you went. You crave your winter and you humbly walked into a vacillating summer. You love those familiar bog plants and spruces, those carnivorous little traps and the frozen places you can only walk on one season of the year. But you left, because you care more about God than winter, and more about His work than familiarity, and more about God’s people than your people.

Bless you, April. You’re a quiet kind of ordinary. I don’t see you on stages, and we don’t chat about your Bible education because you’re not enrolled in any seminary. But for all the deep lessons I learn from great, God-filled sermons, and for all the new exciting teachings I crave at the hands of those being formally educated in things I may never know – for all that, April, your ordinary has made me laugh as heartily; it has taught me much love and how to snort a little when I laugh; it has taught me to care about people, not how they dress, but also how to wear fun colors (admittedly, “Jim”, you take the cake with color.) Gosh – I barely chat with you. Even here we weren’t talking all the time. Mama’s your best bud – you Lucy and Ethel duo.

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You didn’t know all this, did you? You didn’t know how deep you reach with that monosyllabic “Lamb”; you didn’t know tripping through brush on the banks of Black Spruce Bogs was a love lesson greater than any professor could cover in a quiz; you didn’t know laughing that singular laugh was gonna tickle me happy like life can go on, even when I’m melting in a place I wouldn’t have chosen to be. That’s your ordinary, April. That’s you just doing your ordinary thing. And you know what makes it extraordinary and spectacular and beyond anything I’d learn from a sermon or a classroom or a book? I see that you are ordinary and I can recognize that you have been with Christ.

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Now – you other Aprils. Sweeties, all of you.

Stacy: Psh, we still barely chat. But you let me pull you aside at church one busy night and ask you all worried and confused how one ought to do mission trips. And you, sweet seasoned veteran, helped. You told me what I needed to know, and you reassured me. Thank you.

Michelle: Gosh – when you walked through the front door (how terribly cliché the beginning of that sentence sounds!) I just kind of went “She’s coming! Yay!” and I honestly couldn’t even remember your name. I think you’re a little crazy. Your laugh just gets out there and makes a joke better. Still, you know how to lean in and look someone in the eyes and give deep true advice. Plus there’s a bunch of other things – like the whole crazy we-love-camping thing – that make you an epic lady. Oh: I am a lit major, so read that word “epic” for all that it is worth.

Esther: Them sweatpants though! Thanks to you, I was a few degrees farther away from actually freezing the … off.

Roxanne: Never once did you bring up that job I irresponsibly missed and here I was kinda shamed the whole time – but we just gasped and shrieked between the polar plunge and the sauna; we competed in broomball and whooped sledding down that supah-sketch hill – you just being all gracious and forgiving and forgetting and me just being all grateful. Thanks, lady.

Lacey: Okay, how do some people just kind of know what I need? Cuz we just practiced a bit that first night and then we came down the stairs and I did that little awkward walk-fast-so-you-get-away-without-saying-goodbye thing (gotta love my awkward, eh?) and you just said “Gianna,” and I turned around, “Thanks for being so flexible.” and you hugged me, and that was darned amazing. Yup. Do I sound like a sap? Anyway.

So, April and all you Aprils, Yeah. You’re ordinary. I’m ordinary. But people need your ordinary.

*I* need it.

Thank you for sharing your ordinary.

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One project: done

Or almost done anyway.

Actually, it was a hard project. Last summer, after the 5k that I and some college buddies hosted, I wrote each of them a thank you card for all they did. B’lieve me – they did lots. I had left over cards. Nice ones. That, and I’d heard of Hannah Brencher‘s project More Love Letters. That, and some other blogger I think wrote about doing thank you notes as a project. All together, it seemed like a good way to use up those nice looking thank you notes.

So I made a list.

Mom. My boss. My little sister-by-love and my older one. My friend. Another friend. Another lady.

Just people who I love. Just a chance to tell them so.wpid-wp-1412207743754.jpegThanks, everyone.

Thanks for the little things, and the big things. Thanks for the things you taught me, the times we were silly, and for loving me. Thanks for goofing off and playing with my hair and moving to California. Thanks for introducing me to Dr. Who and giving me haircuts and helping me plan a 5k.

wpid-wp-1412208016526.jpeg wpid-wp-1412207450576.jpegThanks for reminding me to delegate, and thanks for being my silly encouragement on hard days, and thanks for interrupting my school to show me Lego projects, and for being nonchalant about skydiving and staying up late because you wanted to talk to me. Thanks for being weird. Awesome. Annoying. Sweet. All those things.

I got a card like this myself once. It said “Thanks – not only for the big things, but also for the 32 million little things. You didn’t know I kept track, did you?”

So to you readers and commenters and people who I love – thanks. Thanks for the big things, but also for the 32 million little things. You didn’t know I kept track, did you?

Gratefulness

Perhaps it’s an awkward title, but I like it. There’s the because. I sat and listened and lost focus and tried to pay attention in a Bible study, one night. We read Isaiah 53. Mark chatted about it as usual, and then introduced the awkward silence by asking us what our reactions were.

“Gratefulness, I guess,” Caleb said meditatively.

Gratefulness – what an awkward word! my brain spat out. (I didn’t actually say it.) Why not say gratitude?

Yeah I slapped myself for that. Caleb’s a friend, and Christ is my savior, and I wanted to hear a different word? Oh Gianna. I repented then and haven’t stopped. So now I say gratefulness, and count grace, and smile because Caleb knew what was important more than I – Jesus and his mercy.

Thanks for that lesson, dude.

And that’s basically this post. Gratefulness. Happy little things. Learning to count God’s gracious gifts and number them – impossible as it is – in photos and words and happy moments.

So anyway. Here’s my grateful list of today.

wpid-wp-1410181118263.jpegI am grateful for blog ideas. Don’t read too much here. Spoilers, wot! But mostly I took a picture of what I’ve already posted.

wpid-img_20140908_082320.jpgI’m to be a legend folks. That’s just exciting, wot. Time to go #liveacrazydream (more on that when it actually happens. 🙂

wpid-wp-1410182255902.jpegSo maybe, when I take a hand off the steering, I get swerve-y and off and it’s weird, and maybe I almost went in the ditch. But maybe not, if you’re of the gracious ones. But the biking was a fun time, anyway.

wpid-wp-1410182069077.jpegAnd sunsets are always a good time. Especially if you’re biking. And picturing. And smiling. And it’s autumn. Win-win-win-win-win (and yeah, I just actually counted all that.)

wpid-wp-1410181844749.jpegYeah so it’s cocoa weather, and pleasepleaseplease don’t try to tell me it’s still 70 during the day, because it’s cocoa’n’coffe’n’hoodie weather, which is my favorite. Have your seventies, sweeties. I’ll drink my cocoa.

wpid-wp-1409284661537.jpegThese people are awesome. Like on the right, there’s KK. She’s my awesome sister, as somebody boldly pointed out the other day. But yeah, I’m already aware. I mean – she’s the one taking herself a selfie, here, with a phone she didn’t have permission to use. (Darn you, girl.)

Then on the left, there’s a bestie (so maybe my bestie and I both blog) and I really didn’t know it was possible for anybody besides God to know me so well. Gosh, girl. How does you does it?

wpid-wp-1410181687881.jpegSpeaking of that girl, she gave me this book, which has been designated the thankfulness journal. Lookit all the writing there. God is good, isn’t he?

wpid-wp-1410181542058.jpegOh um. There’s dirt under my nails. I play ultimate and do crazy outside stuff. So it happens. I’ll be grateful for that too. *awkward grin*

Note coffee on that list.

Yeah. I really like my coffee.

Tell me something you’re grateful for. I’d love to hear.